Are You Addicted to Stress?

Do you find yourself constantly on the go? Do you feel guilty about taking a day off or using your vacation time?   Stress has become such a common condition for the modern woman that according to the APA more than half of us report being “highly stressed”  that number is up 25% from just 4 years ago What we are witnessing is a trend in which women see stress as a badge of honor. We feel the need to push ourselves to the very limit, sacrificing sleep and sanity, in the hopes that someone will take notice, perhaps give us a pat on the back and commend us for our strong work ethic. Turns out the harder we push ourselves the more we can become addicted to the rush of being in demand and on the go but whether we realise it or not the same hormones that trigger the stress “high” can also be wreaking havoc on our health.

 

Why Stress is so Addictive

When we experience moments of stress our bodies release hormones like adrenaline and  cortisol. These rushes of hormones are meant to be temporary and help give us that boost in energy and focus that can help us deal with  stressful situations. However when stress becomes a constant state our cortisol reserve gets depleted and this can serious throw our bodies, minds and even behaviors out of whack. Blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol all sky rocket while valuable nutrients like B vitamins get depleted, even memory and our ability to think clearly can become impaired. Prolonged stress can also take a toll on our self control, people with elevated cortisol levels are more prone to excessive drinking, smoking and binge eating so all that stress can be a nightmare on your diet. The down side of all these hormones is that they can also produce a type of high that we can easily become addicted to until we actually become incapable of relaxing. Women today more than ever are judging their own success by how hard they work and how exhausted they are, many women feel that unless they work 12 hours a day and then still maintain a household or care for a familty that they are somehow less than or lazy, it easily gets to the point where feelings of stress are mistaken for feelings of productivity or just normal multitasking. We may believe that there will ultimatly be a payoff for sacrificing our well being in the short term but too often we sabotage our own success by wearing ourselves ragged and ultimatley becomeing not only unhealthy but less motivated and productive.

 

Avoid Stress Pitfalls

While we may not be able to avoid stress all together there are ways to better cope with our hectic lifestyle. When stress make you want to reach for a candy bar or destroy a bag of chips try snacking on almonds. The omega-3 fatty acids help regulate cortisol levels and the natural fiber and protein will keep blood sugar in check. You may not always be able to get 8 hours of sleep so try to sneak in a quick nap,just 20 minutes can help regulate hormones and keep you feeling sharp and productive. Since stress depletes essential nutrients try to take a multivitamin to keep your nutrition balanced. When all else fails just calling a friend or taking a walk with a loved one can really take the edge off of an otherwise stressful life and help restore your peace of mind.

 

 


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